Tag Archives: emotional

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Hillsborough anniversary: Liverpool and West Ham observe minute"s silence at Anfield

Solemn silence at Anfield as Liverpool mark the 24th anniversary of Hillsborough tragedy

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:50 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:13 GMT, 7 April 2013

Liverpool paid an emotional tribute to the 96 fans who were tragically killed during the Hillsborough disaster ahead of their game with West Ham today.

The fixture is the Reds last home game before the 24th anniversary of the 1989 tragedy and there was a minute's silence impeccably observed by all supporters in attendance before kick-off.

Tribute: The Liverpool players line-up arm-in-arm for the minute's silence

Tribute: The Liverpool players line-up arm-in-arm for the minute's silence

Fans don't forget: Supporters with T-shirts in memory of the 96 who lost their lives

Fans don't forget: Supporters with T-shirts in memory of the 96 who lost their lives

Honour: West Ham's Liverpudlian captain Kevin Nolan paid tribute to the Hillsborough disaster victims

Honour: West Ham's Liverpudlian captain Kevin Nolan paid tribute to the Hillsborough disaster victims

The occasion was poignant to Liverpool-born West Ham captain Kevin Nolan.

Speaking before the game, Nolan said he believed it would be a chance to commemorate the success of the inquest into the disaster last year.

'We will honour the memory of the 96 innocent supporters that lost their lives,' he said.

'I have friends who were there that day, so it's going to be an emotional day because they have got the justice they deserved.

'We can commemorate it and the people who have worked so tirelessly to ensure justice was brought.'

Tribute: Anfield will hold a minute's silence before the clash between Liverpool and West Ham

Tribute: Anfield will hold a minute's silence before the clash between Liverpool and West Ham

Barcelona: Cesc Fabregas hat-trick Eric Abidal returns after transplant

Fabregas scores hat-trick but Abidal gets Nou Camp ovation on emotional return

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 7 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Eric Abidal

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

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Jose Mourinho: Chelsea will always be in my heart

Chelsea remain in my heart, says Mourinho as Abramovich closes in on deal to bring back Special One

By
Richard Sharpe

PUBLISHED:

14:04 GMT, 26 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:09 GMT, 26 March 2013

Jose Mourinho has fuelled speculation he will return to Chelsea next season, saying the club remains in his heart and he has 'big emotional connections' with Stamford Bridge.

It comes amid rumours that a deal to bring the Portuguese back to the London club is as good as complete following discussions with owner Roman Abramovich.

Tellingly, the Real Madrid manager played down persistent rumours he will join Manchester United, calling it 'Sir Alex's Kingdom' and willing Ferguson to continue in the job for many years to come.

Return: Jose Mourinho has said Chelsea remains 'in his heart' as speculation of a second spell at Stamford Bridge grows

Return: Jose Mourinho has said Chelsea remains 'in his heart' as speculation of a second spell at Stamford Bridge grows

In an interview with Sky Sports News recorded in London, Mourinho said: 'I can't deny in spite of this disgraceful weather I love it here and I have a house.

'I have big emotional connections with Chelsea, and one day I think naturally I have to be back to English football to Chelsea or another club.

'Chelsea means for me different than other clubs. It's in my heart as Inter is for example. One day I have to be back.'

Mourinho had been due to return to Stamford Bridge last night, as Brazil played Russia in a friendly match.

Despite being on the guest list of the Brazilian FA, there were no sightings of the 50-year-old in the stands.

However, it is now widely reported that a deal to replace Rafa Benitez at his former club is close to being agreed.

Good times: Mourinho with his Chelsea team after winning the Premier League title in 2005

Good times: Mourinho with his Chelsea team after winning the Premier League title in 2005

Reunion: Mourinho is believed to be close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Reunion: Mourinho is believed to be close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

In the long-term though, many believe he will succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford when he eventually retires.

On the subject, Mourinho said: 'I was in Manchester three weeks ago with much nicer weather.

'I had a lot of fun with Sir Alex, texting him on the day of the match – I said, 'what is this fantastic sunny weather in Manchester' It was really good.

'I think Manchester is Sir Alex's Kingdom and I would love that job to be forever, of course it can't but I would love it for many more years.

'In the other chair is Roberto Mancini, with a contract, he was champion last year so I don't think there is a move over there.

Kingdom: Mourinho said he wished his friend Sir Alex Ferguson could carry on forever at Manchester United

Kingdom: Mourinho said he wished his friend Sir Alex Ferguson could carry on forever at Manchester United

'I hope everything goes well for everybody, even Benitez. I hope everybody finishes the season well. I wish for them the same I wish for myself to finish the season well.'

Mourinho added he still has unfinished business with Real between now and the end of the season.

'At the end of the day, I am in Madrid and I am very committed to the rest of the season.

'We are in the last eight of the Champions League and we have a [Copa del Rey] final to play with Atletico.

'I am professional and at the moment I only think about my job in Madrid.'

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West Ham Bobby Moore tribute: Grandchildren lead teams out at Upton Park

'20 years gone, never forgotten': West Ham pay tribute to Moore as grandchildren lead teams out at Upton Park

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 25 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 25 February 2013

Bobby Moore's grandchildren led the teams out before West Ham entertained Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League at Upton Park on Monday night as his former club marked the 20th anniversary of his death.

Poppy, 21, Freddie, 16, and 13-year-old Ava placed the ball on the spot for the kick-off and fans of both clubs provided an impeccably-observed minute's applause for England's 1966 World Cup-winning captain who died of cancer aged 51 on February 24, 1993.

Emotional night: Moore's grandchildren Poppy (left) Freddie (centre) and Ava (right) lead West Ham and Spurs out at Upton Park

Emotional night: Moore's grandchildren Poppy (left) Freddie (centre) and Ava (right) lead West Ham and Spurs out at Upton Park

Emotional night: Moore's grandchildren Poppy (left) Freddie (centre) and Ava (right) lead West Ham and Spurs out at Upton Park

West Ham fans also held aloft cards making up a mosaic reading 'Moore 6'.

West Ham also made a special tribute to Moore on their shirts, with the words: ‘Bobby Moore OBE, 20 YEARS GONE, NEVER FORGOTTEN’ stitched on the front.

Hammers stars were seen training in shirts paying tribute to Moore last week.

Tribute: West Ham players wore a shirt paying respect to the late Bobby Moore

Tribute: West Ham players wore a shirt paying respect to the late Bobby Moore

Tribute: West Ham players wore a shirt paying respect to the late Bobby Moore

Six of the best: Fans lifted cards to unveil a mosaic reading 'Moore 6'

Six of the best: Fans lifted cards to unveil a mosaic reading 'Moore 6'

Six of the best: Fans lifted cards to unveil a mosaic reading 'Moore 6'

A 100-page programme was also on sale with 50p from each one sold going towards the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.

Moore's family, club officials and
supporters gathered to pay tribute on Sunday with his former West Ham
and World Cup-winning team-mate Martin Peters and club co-chairman David
Gold attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the World Cup 'Champions'
statue near West Ham's ground.

Minute's applause: Fans and players remembered Moore before the start of the game

Minute's applause: Fans and players remembered Moore before the start of the game

Minute's applause: Fans and players remembered Moore before the start of the game

Watching brief: Moore's daughter Roberta and his grandchildren watch on from the sidelines

Watching brief: Moore's daughter Roberta and his grandchildren watch on from the sidelines

'He was our England World Cup-winning
captain, but also more personally for all of us here at West Ham, a
legend at our club and always will be,' Gold said.

'It
was great to see so many West Ham fans turn out in what was bitterly
cold weather. But they wanted to pay their respects to a man we hold
very dear at this club.'

Moore
played 646 times for West Ham between 1958 and 1974, leading them to
victory in the 1964 FA Cup final and 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup
final.

Tribute: Martin Peters laid a wreath at the 'legends' statue as Moore's family watched on

Tribute: Martin Peters laid a wreath at the 'legends' statue as Moore's family watched on

Tribute: Martin Peters laid a wreath at the 'legends' statue as Moore's family watched on

Club legend: Bobby Moore played over 500 games for West Ham

Club legend: Bobby Moore played over 500 games for West Ham

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Fabrice Muamba appears on Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

Muamba shows no signs of slowing down after heart attack as former Bolton star appears on Strictly Christmas special

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UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 18 December 2012

A grinning Fabrice Muamba showed he still has some slick footwork as the former Bolton star, who was forced to retire from the game after a cardiac arrest stopped his heart for 78 minutes in March, appeared on Strictly Come Dancing.

The first pictures of the show’s pre-recorded Christmas special show the 24-year-old footballer swaying his hips and spinning his partner Aliona Vilani with carefree abandon.

Muamba retired from football in the summer after collapsing during an FA Cup match for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur.

Shaking it up: Aliona Vilani gets down with footballer Fabrice Muamba

Shaking it up: Aliona Vilani gets down with footballer Fabrice Muamba

Despite suffering a cardiac arrest nine months ago forcing him into retirement, the 24 year old shows no sign of slowing down

Despite suffering a cardiac arrest nine months ago forcing him into retirement, the 24 year old shows no sign of slowing down

In shocking scenes at White Hart Lane, Muamba was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital.

His heart had stopped for well over an hour, but remarkably the former midfielder recovered and has since had a pacemaker fitted.

The former Arsenal player made an emotional return at the Reebok Stadium in May, when, 46 days after his collapse, he tearfully walked onto the pitch before Tottenham's clash with Bolton as fans of both clubs chanting his name.

Muamba also appeared on stage this weekend before Bradley Wiggins picked up the Sports Personality of the Year award at the ExCeL Arena in London.

He was met by Gary Lineker as well as close friends and family and medical staff who helped to save his life earlier this year.

Fabrice shows that his footballing footwork has other uses

Fabrice shows that his footballing footwork has other uses

He told the audience: 'I don't know where to start. All these people, they mean the world to me… Sometimes, when I think about it, life is great.

'They did an unbelievable job to keep me where I am and I am very grateful for that.'

Other contestants on the one-off BBC1 show – to be broadcast on Christmas Day – were just as enthusiastic as Muamba.

Actress Sheila Hancock, Natasha Kaplinsky, retired Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson will also appear on the show, with veteran rocker Rod Stewart serenading them as they go.

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Shock: Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane, as manager Owen Coyle joined players on the field of play

Overwhelming: Muamba made a tearful return to the Reebok Stadium

Overwhelming: Muamba made a tearful return to the Reebok Stadium

Lewis Hamilton says fond farewell to McLaren on last official outing

Tears shed as Hamilton says fond farewell to McLaren on last official outing… and he does not rule out emotional return

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UPDATED:

15:53 GMT, 11 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton left the door open to a possible return to McLaren after saying an emotional farewell to the F1 team.

Tears were shed as the British driver hugged his colleagues and thanked them for their support during his last official official outing.

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Hamilton, who will join Mercedes in January, took part in a demonstration event in Malta at the weekend, his last drive in a McLaren car.

And the 2008 World Champion did not rule out a return to the Woking-based outfit in the future.

'My time at McLaren has been fantastic,' he told staff at the
McLaren Technology Centre.

'When I arrived in Formula One in 2007, I now
realise I never really grasped what I was taking on. Ron [Dennis] had
told me: “Don't be surprised if you're 0.5sec slower than Fernando
[Alonso]“, and I just smiled because I knew it wouldn't be the case.
But, even so, that year was very hard, for many reasons.

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Can't stop partying: Instead of having a night in after a hectic weekend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger shows up to the premiere with Lewis Hamilton in tow

Night out: Hamilton and girlfriend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, at the Jack Reacher premiere in Leicester Square on Monday

'You were brilliant – you still are. I have so much affection and love
for this team. And that's why McLaren has always felt like home,' he
added.

McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael admitted Hamilton's departure would be 'a loss to McLaren' but the team will 'move on quickly'.

Hamilton leaves to join Mercedes following six seasons with the team in Formula One and a further seven as part of the team's driver development programme.

'Of course it's a loss to McLaren but just like if anybody leaves, whether it's a driver – there have been some very big, famous names leave McLaren before in terms of drivers – and you don't dwell on it,' Michael told James Allen on F1. 'You move on quickly because Formula One's all about change management.”

Michael also said that Hamilton leaves on good terms.

'I think the whole team gets on very well with Lewis, and we still do. He's a great guy, he's a fantastic racing driver; he's possibly the quickest driver on the grid at the moment in terms of pure natural talent.'

Hamilton is backing Sebastian Vettel to maintain his stranglehold on the Formula One drivers’ championship for a fourth successive season.

Hamilton, who has left McLaren to race for Mercedes in the coming campaign, admitted he expects the combination of Vettel’s pace and the genius of Red Bull’ s chief designer Adrian Newey to be unbeatable once more.

‘It's going to be hard to beat Sebastian next year,’ Hamilton said. ‘I think Sebastian's going to have another amazing car. The car he had this year was fantastic. It's going to be an evolution of that next year. Adrian only seems to get better with age; I think he's going to do something pretty special next year as well.’

Laid back: Lewis looked rather coy as he relaxed in the back of his car and headed home

Back seat driver: Lewis looked relaxed as he headed home

Hamilton faces an uphill battle to
turn Mercedes into frontrunners next year but is eagerly anticipating
racing for his new team – even if he is forced to battle in the
midfield.

Hamilton added: ‘I like that people
know that I'm a racer and I'm a winner. But it doesn't matter where you
are on the grid, you can still race. But I want to win – of course.
That's my goal. I can't wait to get my hands on the team and the car and
just try to work as quickly as possible.

‘It doesn't matter how many days, how
many hours it takes. I'm willing to put all the effort in. I feel like
I've got a new breath of life in me, so I'm ready for it.’

Meanwhile Hamilton’s former teammate, Jenson Button, is looking forward
to being the main focus at McLaren now that he is sharing the garage
with Mexican youngster Sergio Perez.

Button said of his team leader status: ‘It's not the first time I've
done that. When I got to BAR and Jacques [Villeneuve] left it was
exactly the same situation.

‘I was there to lead the team and it's something I really look forward
to and it's something where the best comes out of me in that situation.’

Determined to drive the design process of next year’s car in a direction
which can give him a machine capable of consistently challenge the
likes of Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Button added: ‘I can
really build that team around me and direct the team in a direction I
like with the car.

‘We all drive differently and have different styles. For me, I need a
car I can develop beneath me and feel comfortable in. If the car feels
neutral and unbalanced it doesn't work for me.

‘I need to develop a car and engineer a car in a position that feels
comfortable for me, and I don't think anyone can do a better job than I
can in that position. The problem for me is if I can't get the car there
I do struggle more than some.'

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Shane Warne fit for Ashes for Australia against England

WARNEING: I'm fit for Ashes! Shane, 43, is in the shape of his life and ready to save Australia

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 4 December 2012

Just when it seemed we could bid an
emotional farewell to the last of Australia's true greats with Ricky
Ponting's tearful retirement, up pops Shane Warne to flex his spinning
finger and tease us all over a possible Ashes comeback.

Warne chose the week of his latest
return to action in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 competition with
the Melbourne Stars to say that he had 'absolutely no doubt' he could
bowl at Test level again.

The ball, it seems, is in his close
friend Michael Clarke's court and fizzing like a classic Warne
leg-break. Can he really be serious

Ashes to Ashes! Warne is willing to come out of retirement to face England once again

Ashes to Ashes! Warne is willing to come out of retirement to face England once again

Final Warne-ing: Would Shane's other half put a block on him playing England again

Final Warne-ing: Would Shane's other half put a block on him playing England again

Well, perhaps the greatest bowler
of them all, and almost as great a showman, has talked of comebacks
before but there has always been more than a hint of publicity stunt
about it.

Now, in the aftermath of Australia's crushing defeat by South
Africa in Perth, he again chose to provide a glimmer of hope to a
slightly desperate nation.

If the Australian captain gives him a call,
Warne insists he will respond. 'If your best friend says, “Mate, I want
you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket by
coming out of retirement”, that's a different scenario,' said Warne.

'Especially with back-to-back Ashes series coming up next year. It could
be a 12-month thing where you take three spinners with you and say,
“Righto, work with these spinners and see how you go”. That's a
different kettle of fish.'

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Nemesis: Warne took great delight in bowling England over time and again

Ball of the century: Mike Gatting was bowled all ends up in 1993

Ball of the century: Mike Gatting was bowled all ends up in 1993

So is this what you might call a
'come-and-get-me plea' 'I'm definitely not asking for Michael Clarke to
come out and say that,' conceded Warne.

'You asked me if I felt I could
still play international cricket, if I wanted to just turn up, do my
bowling and if the first Test was in three weeks, do you think I could
play

'I'd have no hesitation in saying yes. And I think I'd do pretty
well.'

It does, of course, feel like madness. Warne, after all, is 43
and has not played Test cricket for almost six years.

He may be able to
turn his arm over in a domestic Twenty20 league but could he really
return to what remains the biggest battle in world cricket

It is not as
if he needs to. Warne is busy and in successful postretirement and,
since he met Elizabeth Hurley, has found contentment in what has often
been a rocky personal life.

Surely he would not risk his considerable
reputation by putting his neck on the line again

And yet. Warne is
probably in the best physical shape of his life, has never been close to
being replaced in the Australian team and could bowl off a couple of
paces and resume his old position at slip, as long as his eyes haven't
gone, without too much fuss.

It couldn't happen, could it 'From purely a bowling perspective I don't think my form would be a concern,'
said Warne.

'It's just the time and actually making a commitment again.
'My kids are turning 16, 14 and 12 next year and we're juggling two
continents with my work commitments and Elizabeth's.

'There's travel, sponsors, businesses, so much stuff that I'd have to put
on hold to come back to international cricket. That's the reason I
haven't said for a while that I'm going to make a comeback.'

Oh Shane,
don't spoil it. His comments, made in Adelaide, have guaranteed
publicity so we might as well dream of what it might be like.

Shane's world: Warne retired in 2007 and soon took up commentary duties

Shane's world: Warne retired in 2007 and soon took up commentary duties

The
thought of Warne in another Ashes series is like a huge dollop of
stardust that will be missing in the contests in England and the return
in Australia as a result of Ponting's absence.

'For me it's not a
question of whether I could do it,' said Warne. 'I have no doubt that if
I wanted to commit I could do it.

'I watched the Perth Test and I felt
like jumping off the couch and grabbing the ball. I really felt for
Michael Clarke from a captaincy point of view.'

Nathan Lyon, the latest Australian spinner faced with the thankless task of stepping into
Warne's shoes, should look away now.

'When you've got international
bowlers bowling one or two full tosses and half-volleys an over I felt
for Pup (Clarke), I really did. I think I'm bowling as well as I have
for a long time. The best since I retired from international cricket. My
body's fresh and strong and fit. My mind's fresh from it all and off
the field I'm very happy, content and looking forward to playing.'

Oh,
go on Pup, give him a call. You know you want to. We all certainly want
you to. That really would light up the Ashes.

Andrew Flintoff has
improved his fitness levels so much in his boxing training that he may
play Twenty20 cricket again, says his father, Colin.

The only people cheering Warne's return would be England's batsmen

The only surprise about Shane Warne's latest dalliance with the idea of unretiring and playing Test cricket once more is that it's been a while since he's aired the possibility.

Barely a week went by during the 2010-11 Ashes when Warne wasn't asked whether he fancied helping out his struggling former team-mates. And, being a straight-talking kind of guy – and one with an eye for a PR stunt – he was damned if he was going to dismiss the prospect without giving it at least some room to breathe.

Now, he's done it again, saying he has 'absolutely no doubt' he could hack it at Test level and leaving a nation to dream of the good old days, when the thought of Australia failing to take six South African wickets in an entire day to win a match – as Michael Clarke's team contrived to do recently in Adelaide – would scarcely have occurred.

No one can question Warne's self-belief. It was part of the package that made him the most compelling spin bowler in the history of the game. His capacity to wring so many front-foot lbws out of impressionable umpires was a wonder to behold.

His aura might still earn him the odd wicket, and he could doubtless summon up the old magic to produce the occasional rip-snorter. Hell, it would be fun to watch.

But Test cricket is a gruelling business. And in a shade over six months next year spilling over into 2014, Australia will play ten straight matches against England, away and home. Warne will turn 44 between the two series. A return to Test cricket Really

If the headlines ever descended from the realms of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the only people cheering once the initial excitement had worn off would be England's batsmen.

Sportsmail cricketer writer and editor of Wisden – LAWRENCE BOOTH

VIDEO: Ball of the century which heralded Warne's arrival on Ashes scene…

Jack Wilshere in talks over Arsenal contract – and could be new captain

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere opens talks over 50,000-a-week Arsenal deal… as Wenger prepares to make him captain

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UPDATED:

07:42 GMT, 27 November 2012

Jack Wilshere is on course for a bumper new contract as Arsene Wenger starts preparing the midfielder for the Arsenal captaincy.

Sportsmail understands preliminary discussions regarding a deal extension, which will see the 20-year-old net a significant increase on his 50,000-a-week deal, have taken place.

The England star still has two-and-a-half years left to run on that contract but the Arsenal hierarchy are understandably eager to extend it. They do not want any uncertainty over Wilshere’s future.

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is understood to be the club’s top earner on 90,000 a week but, while Wilshere’s next offer is unlikely to be on that scale, the pay increase will make him one of the Gunners’ best-paid players.

Wilshere has enjoyed a morale-boosting month after his injury nightmare.

Having missed the whole of last season with ankle, foot and knee problems, he has made a successful return to club football and an instant return to the international game after his call-up to the England squad for the friendly against Sweden two weeks ago.

The midfielder will be buoyed further by Wenger’s plan to make him Arsenal’s next captain. The manager has privately identified him as the long-term successor to skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

The Belgium defender is under no immediate danger of losing the armband to Wilshere but a plan is in place to promote the talented playmaker within the next two-and-a-half years.

Having come through the club’s academy system, Wilshere has a deep emotional attachment to Arsenal and Wenger likes that. The manager took a similar decision when he made Cesc Fabregas club captain at the age of 21, while Gunners legend Tony Adams’ 14-year stint as skipper started at the same age.

Wenger hopes the lure of the armband will persuade Wilshere, who was given the club’s famed No 10 shirt in the summer, that his long-term future lies at the Emirates Stadium.

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Lewis Hamilton farewell to McLaren

Hamilton rues Brazil crash as Brit bids emotional farewell to McLaren

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 25 November 2012

A numb Lewis Hamilton bade an emotional farewell to McLaren as his six-year journey with the team ended in bitter frustration.

Just seven days after the ultimate high of victory in the United States Grand Prix came a gut-wrenching low after crashing out in an extraordinary race in Brazil when in the lead.

It is the third time in the last seven races Hamilton has lost out on a maximum haul of points when front running, epitomising the turbulent campaign he has been forced to endure.

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

On this occasion, with mayhem taking place all over Interlagos, the 27-year-old was slid into by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg as the German attempted to regain a lead he had earlier lost to Hamilton.

The resulting damage of a broken front-left suspension saw Hamilton retire for the fifth time this year, and a walk back to the garage where he was given a standing ovation.

For Hamilton, there is now a month off before joining Mercedes on January 1 on a three-year deal, but not after many goodbyes to a team he has been associated with for the last 14 years.

'I don't remember too much about the accident with Nico, but he came to see me after the race, which was nice,' said Hamilton.

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

'Now the season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It's been a day of mixed emotions, and I'm sad I didn't finish the race.

'But I'm excited about the future. I'll miss my friends and McLaren, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me.

'I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn't have done anything more.

'It's been a brilliant experience to be a part of McLaren over the past six years.

'I want to thank everyone, and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future.

'They've been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job, so to everyone at McLaren, I'll miss each and every one of you.'

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton at least wore a rocket-red victory top one final time, even if not in the circumstances he had hoped for, given team-mate Jenson Button inherited the victory following his collision with Hulkenberg.

It was Button's third triumph of the year for McLaren, and enough to see him finish ahead of Hamilton on total points over their three-year partnership.

Once the furore had died down, Button paid a heart-felt tribute to Hamilton as he said: 'I had a lot of fun racing with him, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight.

'It's a pity he wasn't still there at the end, but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as McLaren team-mates.

'And I really want to say this: 'It's been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we've driven a lot of great races together. It's been fab'.'

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Chelsea v Manchester City: Chris Foy will referee

Referee Foy set to take charge of first Chelsea game since Terry racially abused Ferdinand

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UPDATED:

12:43 GMT, 22 November 2012

Chris Foy will this wekend take charge of a Chelsea match for the first time since he officiated their visit to Loftus Road when John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand

The 49-year-old has not refereed the Blues for more than a year after he sent off two of their players during the infamous Barclays Premier League fixture on October 23, 2011.

Foy awarded QPR the match-winning penalty in the 10th minute, then dismissed Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba as Chelsea lost 1-0.

Report: Foy (right) told police he did not hear anything from Terry or Ferdinand

Report: Foy (right) told police he did not hear anything from Terry or Ferdinand

Andre Villas-Boas slammed Foy at full-time, saying: 'I'm very disappointed with Chris's performance. With nine players we kept our emotions very well.

'Chris and his team managed to play an emotional game and they conceded to the crowd and committed tremendous mistakes.'

Foy then told police investigating Terry he did not hear anything from Ferdinand or the England captain.

Terry told the court at his criminal trial that Foy had heard Ferdinand's insults.

That is the background with which Foy will approach this weekend's standout game as league-leaders Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge.

Sunday's 4pm kick-off will be Rafa Benitez's first match in charge and it has the potential to be a tricky encounter to handle.